Team Update from Tommy McIntyre, Celtic Reserve Manager

Celtic Reserve Team Update

The coronavirus pandemic has brought many of life’s activities to a standstill. However, football training for Celtic Reserves is continuing from home.

Included in this update is a review of how the Reserve Team performed this season, the choice and options our players have for maintaining their fitness levels, mental health during the coronavirus period and looking forward to getting back.

Within the staffing structure following Damien Duff’s move to the First Team, former Club Captain and Scottish Internationalist Stephen McManus stepped up from the under 18s team to fill the position of Reserve Team Coach.

‘Mick’ has settled in really well and has been an excellent acquisition for the Reserve Coaching Staff. Our young players resonate with his playing journey to the top as a first team Celtic player. His attention to detail and work ethic is a clear indication to our young players what is required to be a success at a club like Celtic.

One of the main aims is to develop our young players in a competitive environment in preparation towards their goal of First Team football. We can be proud of highlighting such talents as Dembele, Welsh, Henderson and Robertson who have already made their competitive First Team debuts.


These players and others display a confidence and a strong work ethic knowing that they can enthuse and excite the fantastic Celtic Supporters. At various times, some of the First Team players get involved with the Reserve Team setup getting valuable game time, after returning from injury and requiring some match practice.

Players such as Shved, Hatem Elhamed, Arzani, Griffiths, Klimala, Soro, Connel, Hendry and Henderson have demonstrated a great attitude, work ethic and their integration with the younger players has been fantastic.

Within the Reserve Team match fixtures list we have had a variety of games within our domestic programme but have also had some excellent challenges against top quality English opposition.

In January, we travelled down to play Chelsea Under 23s at Cobham Training Centre in London. We recorded a 1-0 victory through an excellent team goal scored by Scott Robertson. The most pleasing aspect was the manner in which we performed and the maturity shown by the younger players.

At the latter stages of the season, the team was preparing for a Reserve League Cup Final against Aberdeen. They were also in an excellent position to qualify for the City of Glasgow Cup Final. The players performed exceptionally well throughout the season and they and the staff deserve enormous credit for all their hard work and dedication.

The football calendar has been suspended as the football world battles to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Here we look at how the Celtic Reserve players have been handling the situation during Lockdown.

One of the key elements is the mental aspect of the Lockdown. Suddenly we have players who can’t eat out, can’t go on holiday and can’t socialise with their team mates, family and friends. They compensate by doing more sessions than required just to keep themselves mentally alert. Inactivity may lead to challenges to their mental wellbeing caused by a sudden stop to a hectic sporting lifestyle.

It is very difficult going from 100 miles an hour down to nothing. The lack of routine brings its own set of problems for footballers, who are used to getting up and going in to training every day, and preparing for matches.

The players have a flexible training schedule and are encouraged to work to the schedule and keep themselves occupied both physically and mentally. There is daily contact via an online ‘Well Being’ App supplied by the Medical Department. There is also a Well-Being and Communications log which is initiated by a phone call. This tracks how the players are getting on from health and fitness updates to mental health checks and questions such as “how are you and members of your household getting on?” “Do you need any support?” This is logged on a weekly basis and shared with Chris McCart, Head of Youth and Academy.

Some players have the use of small gyms in their houses. Some have bikes, treadmills, weights and other fitness equipment. In terms of kicking a ball, some have local pitches or grass areas nearby nearby their houses. They use the Strava App to post sessions, scores, distances and times. All the players want to keep up with that, and feel motivated. The training is focused on their physical fitness, including running, cycle rides, and gym work where possible. Mostly to a player, they have all been brilliant and shown a professional ethic during these difficult times.

They also have nutritional advice and have to watch what they eat. Some players have started learning to cook. Recipes including soups, salads, eggs and a little bit of pasta.

The feedback is that it is a bit boring not being able to go into training and meeting their teammates. The players are looking forward to returning and keep asking the question that no one knows the answer, “when are we going back to training?”

Outside of Scotland, we have a player in Norway where they are now beginning to relax some of the social distancing measures with children returning to school. Other players are in Ireland, United States and England and they all face different challenges.

In closing, we pay tribute to all those front line workers who work so hard and who put their own lives at risk. We all owe a debt of gratitude to each and every one of them.

Tommy McIntyre, Reserve Team Manager

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor David Faulds has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

Comments are closed.